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View Full Version : How much should I be prepared to spend?



whistleman123
10-15-2017, 07:05 AM
It's finally time to upgrade to a better soprano uke. My starter uke has some real intonation problems above 1st position that are driving me nuts!

How much should I be prepared to spend in order to get a better uke with spot on intonation up the neck? I can't aford custom, but I want a good uke to grow into as my facility progresses.

DownUpDave
10-15-2017, 07:22 AM
First of all buy for HMS, Uke Republic or Mim to insure a high quality set up and good intonation.

An all solid wood K brand soprano will run $600 - $700 dollars. You could spend half that on a Pono or Ohana and still get a good instrument. It depends on your budget and your desires

Croaky Keith
10-15-2017, 07:40 AM
I'd say likely you'd be looking in the £300~500 range for near perfection, but as you are using a less than satisfactory uke, by the sounds of it, £100~300 will give you a good uke.

Mine are mostly between £150~300, although I just lashed out £351 on a Kala solid acacia concert. ;)

Tootler
10-15-2017, 08:28 AM
I'll come up with a different answer. Spend as much as you feel you can afford, even if you think it is too good for you now, you will catch up with it as you improve.

Money spent on a good quality musical instrument is never wasted if you are serious about playing it.

I find it very hard to quote prices as price comparisons between here (I'm in the U.K.) and the USA are difficult because of issues like tax and import duties, but I would suggest something like a mid range Kala or Ohana would be a good starting point. Or you could consider a Flea. Your best bet is to check someone like Mim or HMS and see what they have and what might recommend for you.

jer
10-15-2017, 09:45 AM
You didn't say what your starter instrument is.

How much depends on how much you want to spend I think. Example: You can get an Ohana with a solid top, that properly setup will meet your requirements, for $115.
There are even sub $100 ukes I'm sure that have as good as intonation as more expensive, so long at they were built to proper specs and setup correctly. It's more hit and miss with the lower priced stuff though, obviously.
I have a $115 Ohana SK-20 in my possession right now that is a great player. It sounds good too.
Of course if you have the money and want to spend on an even nicer uke, that's an option too. I'm just saying you don't have to spend a lot to get a decent instrument these days.
As mentioned above, do make sure you get it from someone reputable who includes a setup before shipping the instrument. Higher priced instruments sometimes have issues too, so this is very important.

There is no such thing as perfect intonation with any stringed instrument. I know some are better than others though, for sure. The shorter the scale length, the harder it is to get the intonation right. Then strings and player technique come into play as well. If you want the best possible intonation you can achieve, the uke will have to be setup for one particular string set and then you'll have to stick with that particular set in the future when you buy new strings. There isn't much different between some sets, but strings can make a difference.

cyber3d
10-15-2017, 11:14 AM
A great ukulele for a beginner is not a matter of cost. If it is manufactured correctly it should play a lot better than your ukulele. You can get a $50 uke that plays great. Heck, I have a uke that retails for $479 and it was crap! I bought 3 of these and kept returning them. After I spent hours hand fixing it I can say it now performs well. And yet, I have an entry level Islander that sounds beautiful with just a string change.

If you find a decent uke it will likely take quite a while for a beginner to outgrow the potential of that uke. Setup, string choice, . . . a really good player can "make" a lesser uke sound better. I say get the most out of the uke you have with setup, strings, and practice before you get a "better" uke.

However, if it is a different sound that you want. Maybe consider a different wood or wood combination, solid vs laminate, spruce vs mahogany. Or add to your collection with a different size uke. Maybe, a tenor strung with a Low G.

IMHO

whistleman123
10-15-2017, 11:18 AM
You didn't say what your starter instrument is.

How much depends on how much you want to spend I think. Example: You can get an Ohana with a solid top, that properly setup will meet your requirements, for $115.
There are even sub $100 ukes I'm sure that have as good as intonation as more expensive, so long at they were built to proper specs and setup correctly. It's more hit and miss with the lower priced stuff though, obviously.
I have a $115 Ohana SK-20 in my possession right now that is a great player. It sounds good too.
Of course if you have the money and want to spend on an even nicer uke, that's an option too. I'm just saying you don't have to spend a lot to get a decent instrument these days.
As mentioned above, do make sure you get it from someone reputable who includes a setup before shipping the instrument. Higher priced instruments sometimes have issues too, so this is very important.

There is no such thing as perfect intonation with any stringed instrument. I know some are better than others though, for sure. The shorter the scale length, the harder it is to get the intonation right. Then strings and player technique come into play as well. If you want the best possible intonation you can achieve, the uke will have to be setup for one particular string set and then you'll have to stick with that particular set in the future when you buy new strings. There isn't much different between some sets, but strings can make a difference.


Starter uke is an Aiersi Ovation style soprano. Laminate top, plastic back and sides. As I said, intonation sucks and it's a quiet uke. No punch.

ScooterD35
10-15-2017, 01:41 PM
If excellent intonation, great playability, great tone and excellent construction are the goals...

The Flea soprano is the pinnacle in great intonation. They come in an amazing number of colors and designs and are made in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

http://www.magicfluke.com/The-Flea-Ukulele-s/1513.htm


Mainland Ukes are more traditional looking, and if you buy directly from Mike at Mainland you are guaranteed an expertly set up instrument with classic styling. Made in Asia, and set up in Nashville, Iowa.

http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/category.sc?categoryId=3


A soprano from Mimís Ukes will also get an expert set up before it goes out the door. Another more traditional styled instrument from a well respected dealer. Wide array of brands and price points.

http://mimsukes.com


Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $400 for an excellent mid range instrument.

Scooter

Mivo
10-15-2017, 02:47 PM
Good intonation is often mostly a matter of set up, which cheaper factory ukuleles often don't get. Once you are out of the "starter trash" area where the instrument barely qualifies as a playable instrument at all, ukuleles will be pretty good if they get properly set up and quality controlled. As others have said, buying from Mim, HMS/theukulelesite.com, etc is a great course of action. Look what they have and pick the most affordable option that calls out to you.

70sSanO
10-15-2017, 03:53 PM
I guess it depends on how much you like to play and how much you are willing to spend. If playing a soprano is going to be a lifetime endeavor, get the best you can afford. Buy used if possible. You do need to decide if you want koa or mahogany or ???. If you have access to ukuleles locally, try them out and see which ones you like best. Being in the northeast, you'll have to make sure you humidity a solid wood ukulele, if that us not something you want to do, look into a Kiwaya laminate. A high quality ukulele.

John

Ukulele Eddie
10-15-2017, 06:21 PM
It's possible your intonation problems could be solved with a proper set up. Of course, a proper set is typically $50-$80 by a local luthier. But if s/he can determine the issue is simply at the nut slot, then those can be adjusted often for $25 or so.

If you don't want to spend that on your existing uke, then get something from HMS which does a proper set up on every uke they sell. As mentioned, there are some other retailers like Mim's and Uke Republic that are also good options.

Tootler
10-17-2017, 11:09 PM
Magic Fluke Co. ukes always come with excellent set up.